[Coral-List] Fwd: Re: Could Restricting Access to Reefs Be Counterproductive?

Charles Delbeek delbeek at waquarium.org
Sun Mar 26 18:00:15 EST 2006

>At 04:04 PM 3/23/2006, you wrote:
>"Unless we show people their magnificence, how will they 
>know?   People have no reason to care
>about these things in the ocean unless those of us who know something about
>coral reefs share our knowledge.  I think the goal should be to take your
>friends on a reef vacation to teach them about reefs.  Begin by explaining
>why your friends must not touch the coral.  Describe how long it takes a
>colony to grow, why reefs are important to the ecosystem, and explain that
>corals are sensitive to temperature changes and nutrients.  Take a slate and
>pencil on a dive or snorkel trip and point to and identify critters that
>live in/on/around the reef.  Maybe this will get more people excited about
>and behind our goals of conservation and protection of the reefs.  While
>some reefs may need restricted access to improve local infrastructures or to
>protect seed banks, restricting visitor access to all reefs would greatly
>hinder the learning process. "
>This may be somewhat controversial to some, but, there are thousands 
>of marine aquarium hobbyists around the world who have living, 
>thriving, growing "coral reefs" in their homes. The vast majority of 
>these people also have an extremely well developed environmental 
>awareness of the plights of corals reefs. Many of these people have 
>never been to a real coral reef, yet they have a deep seated empathy 
>for the plight of these systems. Many of these people also act as 
>educators, educating family and friends alike on coral reef ecology, 
>many host school groups in their homes several times a year. These 
>people ARE getting the message of coral reefs out there and ARE 
>raising public awareness for people who will never have the 
>opportunity to see a living coral reef in the wild. Finally, many of 
>these aquarists take great pride in the fact that their "coral 
>reefs" consist almost entirely of aquacultured specimens, some even 
>home grown and traded with other hobbyists.
>I would urge those who are not aware of this "resource" to check out 
>online forums such as reefcentral.com and reefs.org, both of which 
>have Tank of the Month sections ... you might be shocked and amazed 
>to see what people are accomplishing when it comes to growing and 
>propagating corals in closed systems, 1000's of miles/km from the sea.
>J. Charles Delbeek M.Sc.

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